Apple nabs Swiss watch executive for iWatch launch

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A sales director of Swiss watch maker Tag Heuer has reportedly left the firm to join Apple. The move will further fuel rumours of an imminent launch of a smartwatch by the Cupertino company.

According to a report by CNBC, the unnamed executive in charge of sales at the luxury watch brand left to help Apple with the launch of what has been dubbed the "iWatch" in October.

The move was confirmed by Jean-Claude Biver, head of LVMH's watch brands, which include Tag Heuer, Hublot and Zenith.

"If it had been a direct competitor, I would have felt a bit betrayed, but if he goes to Apple I think it is a great experience for him," Biver told CNBC.

Biver said the executive left late last week "to take a contract with Apple" in order to help the iWatch launch.

The report said that Apple had made a number of advances to executives from Swiss watch makers over the last few months with no success - until now.

Apple is reported to be starting up production of the iWatch this month with Chinese manufacturer Quanta expected to make the devices on its behalf. Sources say Cupertino is expected to shift 50 million iWatches in the first 12 months of the release.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.